Posted: Thu 27th Mar 2014
Always smile and say 'hello'. This sounds so obvious, but positive levels of energy beaming outwards from your market stall, your exhibition stand or your sampling on Saturday in-store, will draw people to you. If you look tired, so will your products!
Grab people's details. We can all do email newsletters for free, and the minute you start building any kind of database of contacts with people who seem well disposed to you or who have bought your products, you have gold dust there - the ability to get into their inbox! And to remind them where you sell from, what you sell and keeping your products in their mind! Obviously this also opens up possibilities for an e-commerce business too, which is another channel for sales! PayPal makes this so easy now too.
Your products on the shelf or stall should, obviously, be well packaged - no crooked labels slapped on - and nicely presented, facing forward, at the front of the shelf. Get your friends into the habit of nipping into the deli(s) where you are stocked and tidying you on the shelf. I do this for all my clients when I am working in the supermarket aisles!
Promotions and offers sell. Everybody wants a deal these days. Make yours 'three for two', which encourages people to buy more. Build this into your marketing costs at the outset, and do check that your margin can take it.
Enthuse the staff in the delis or shops where you are stocked. A friend of mine sells her chocolate in Liberty London's and all the staff there are very enthusiastic about her chocolate and keen to talk about it with customers! That creates a mini-sales force on your side to sell your products for you!
Packaging and branding - there is much more detail on this in my book Packed: The Food Entrepreneur's Guide, but my top tips are make it clear what your product is, and very clear how people can use it. People really act on impulse when food buying, and the right packaging gets you bought over other brands.
Build your brand! There are so many ways to do this now - and Twitter is great for food brands, as is Facebook. Just remember, as Richard Reed, co-founder of Â£200m turnover Innocent Drinks says, "A like is not a sale, only a sale is a sale!"
And final tip - enjoy it! Food businesses are fun!